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How safe is your Hatchback?



  • Last May, I was automotively sodomized by an out-of-control Chevy Blazer. This teenager driving a Blazer was speeding and swerving, and then he lost control of his truck. I was cruising along at 55 m.p.h. on the right-most lane of an interstate, less than 1 mile from the exit I was going to take when the Blazer rammed the rear end of my Golf. The impact was so hard that my car was knocked across 4 lanes of traffic, and came to rest on the opposite shoulder. Amazingly, no one else hit me. The Blazer, meanwhile, continued to go offroad, and flipped over before coming to a stop. All body panels of the truck were damaged, all the glass was broken, and one wheel got knocked off. The rear of my Golf was completely demolished, the hatchback glass, liftgate, tail lights, and a rear quarter panel were damaged. However, there was no penetration of the passenger cabin. All 4 doors remained functional. I think this was exceptionally good crashworthiness, and I think that this car is WAY safer than a Honda Civic. I was wearing my seatbelt, and my neck was sore for a few days, but I think I am OK now. It took 8 weeks and a day to get my car repaired. My Golf was repaired, but the Blazer was totalled. My Golf's repairs cost about $9,000, paid by Blazer-boy's insurance company.
    The VW Golf, at least, is a very safe hatchback.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    I'm glad to know you are well. I'm afraid to ask about the driver of the Blazer.

  • Actually my assistant manger at a parts store I work for was [non-permissible content removed] packed driving a geo metro. The frame got twisted beyond repair.
  • carladycarlady Posts: 35
    Do you think color has anything to do with it? Our white Honda CRX was rear-ended at least 3 times.

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  • atatuatatu Posts: 12
    About 15 months ago I was rear ended by a Acura legend going about 20mph. My air bags were activated and I was pretty much unscathed, except I banged my knee a little. My Civic was totaled, they gave me $5800 for it. The Acura was also totaled, which I thought was amazing. I really liked the Civic, kind of a drag. Now I have a kid, so I'm driving a Protege...
  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    rear-ended in my 1990 Integra by a Jeep Cherokee that failed to stop for a red light. I was propelled into the car in front of me. (We were both sitting at the red light). My Integra was totalled, but I was only slightly injured.

    I don't really think it's a huge safety issue. Obviously, the trunk on a traditional car would provide a little more "crush space", but I think an impact that crushes the car to the point of intrusion into the passenger area would have to be very severe. I don't think the extra crush space of the trunk makes a huge difference, just my opinion.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    Thanks for sharing your experience, and glad to hear you were not terribly harmed.... Take care.

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  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    The car I primarly drive today is a '92 Integra 3 door hatch, so I'm obviously not too greatly concerned with the safety factor in a rear-end collision! When we replace the '92 Integra in a few years, safety will certainly be a big concern, but it wouldn't stop me from buying another hatchback.
    (Our other car is a 2000 Sienna van)
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    For those interested: you'll now find links to Edmunds' Safety Section, and other related Town Hall discussions, on the left hand column of this page. Hope this is helpful.



    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards

  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    VW Golf was rated the best in safety in the small car category by Consumer Reports. I would paste the URL but Edmunds does not allow greater than 115 characters:( All the cars with trunks had lower safety ratings than the Golf.
  • focusfanfocusfan Posts: 11
    Last Sunday I was sodomized by a '88 Buick in my Focus ZX3. The Buick's bumper went below mine he ended up with a punched radiator. Unfortunately, because my Focus was so much lighter than the Buick, it slid me into the truck in front of me. In the rear, only the bumper was damaged. The front end was another story.
    I was, however, uninjured. the air bag deployed and the front did as it is designed to do and crumpled.

    Anyway, my point is that the fact that these vehicles are hatchbacks has little impact on there safety. It is their light weight that makes them easy marks for two ton land yachts.

    Physics always wins...
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750

    They are not looking to sensationalize bad drivers, but want to point out that wrong choices are often made behind the wheel due to inexperience or youthful feelings of invulnerability.

    Possible causes of the crash could have been:
    .distraction from the road such as cell phone use, changing CDs, putting on makeup, fooling around with group of friends, etc.
    · falling asleep behind the wheel
    · too much partying
    · speeding
    · racing with another car
    · angry frustration or road rage
    · or if your car crash injury could have been avoided if a seat belt had been worn!

    *If any of the above applies to you or someone you know, please contact ROSEMARY KALIKOW, Producer, Court TV (212) 973-8940, or

    Thanks for your participation.

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  • wiwangwiwang Posts: 17
    I was stopped at a red light in my 5 mo. old 00 Celica GT (only 9k miles). Then out of nowhere...well, behind me, this old lady in a current generation Accord slammed into me. She must've been going at least looked more like 50-60mph in the rear view mirror. i didnt even have time to react. she insists that her brakes would not work...but the police believes that she probably stepped on the wrong pedal. i would assume that she probably floored it thinking it was the brakes the closer she got to me. well, she slammed into me and sent me flying into this SUV about 2-4 ft. in front of me (a Tahoe? it was big). I normally do not wear my seatbelt especailly when im in city. It was only about 5 minutes till i got home. but thank God i did that day because the impact caused the airbags to deploy and i felt my head actually hit the airbag as i slammed into the SUV. The SUV got pushed about a 1/4 way into the intersection. Needless to say by little Celica was totaled. it looked like a VW could see the frame bent upwards in the middle. the spare tire, previously in the hatch, was now pushed right up against my back seats. luckily no one was sitting back there. the front was destroyed was an accordian. no one was hurt...although the police could not believe that i was able to walk away from that crash. 2 officers came up to me and asked me how am i not hurt. i had whiplash, and a bruised knee. the Accord was pretty destroyed too. it wouldnt start anymore. the SUV of course was had bumper damage, taillight damage, and the door/hatch was dented. it seemd the little celica held up pretty well in that crash. her insurance company paid for my car and i paid off the debt on the car and bought a new Integra GSR (i got a really good deal on it) =)
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Check out the links to Crash Test Data and other safety related articles/features on the left side of the page. Hope this is helpful.

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    is interested in speaking with folks who have anecdotes and opinions on rear wheel drive vs. front wheel drive in winter driving conditions. We're also looking for people who recently switched one way or the other and what they like/dislike about what they're driving now.

    If you are interested in participating, please provide your city/state of residence and your daytime phone number to no later than March 20, 2002. Thanks for your participation.

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  • gt_fangt_fan Posts: 159
    I used to drive a Ford Festiva. It was reliable, got great gas mileage and was fun to drive. But pulling in to work one day, I saw the remnants of an accident that had happened during the night.

    On the street behind the restaurant where I worked, there had been an old abandoned Chevette sitting for a couple of weeks. (Not a great neighborhood.) It had been rear-ended by a mid-80's Coupe DeVille, which unaccountably was still sitting there. The rear sheetmetal on the Chevette was pushed up through the hatch area and about halfway through the rear seat area. Had anyone been in it, I'd bet they would have been killed. On the other hand, the radiator of the Caddy was crushed, but it otherwise looked like it could have been driven away.

    Needless to say, I traded my Festiva for a Cutlass Supreme shortly thereafter!
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I know what you're saying gt_fan, but I get tired of that argument because carried out to a logical conclusion everyone would soon be driving schoolbuses and then, after that, they would drive dumptrucks around. I think that's part of the reason there are so many damn Suburbans and SUV's around. It's a safety "arms race".
  • mbeards2mbeards2 Posts: 4
    A very safe car(and I must say is very fast with 180HP turbo)is the 2002 VW GTI 1.8T hatchback. It has regular airbags, side impact airbags, and even the latest side curtain bags to protect your head. Add in the excellent crash test score,standard traction control and ABS and you have one safe little car. Safety is important, but luck is even more important in an accident. I have seen demolished cars where the passengers walked away. Then, a less violent crash kills someone.
  • asp5asp5 Posts: 1
    Until 2 days ago, I drove a 2000 Civic DX hatchback. Last Tuesday I was on my way to work, going about 55 mph along the highway, when a teenager in a 4Runner decided to cross the highway about 50 feet in front of me. I only had a couple seconds to try to brake and slammed into him more or less head-on. Apart from the bruises I got from the seatbelt and a sprained wrist, I'm fine. The entire front of my car folded up like something in a Roadrunner cartoon, but if you look at the interior you'd never know. I didn't even stub my toe.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    If I stubbed my toe, I would definitely sue!
  • bazilbazil Posts: 5
    I wonder if it's just me, or are red cars magnets for people to rear-end? I previously drove a 1984 Celica Hatchback (red, of course), and I was rear-ended in it about 5 times. Four times at the exact same spot, a really bad freeway entrance where you had to merge onto a lane of people exiting the freeway. You had to yield to the traffic coming off the freeway, and invariably some moron wanting to get on the freeway in a hurry wouldn't even notice that I was in front of them, and step on it. Nonetheless, even at these medium speed rear-enders, there was no damage to my car! The fifth rear-ender was on a bridge, with a large Chevy Suburban or some other such useless machinery, still no damage. I wonder if it's because the sheet metal was so much heavier. It was one heavy car. Now I drive a 1999 Honda Civic, and have been rear-ended twice, with no damage except a small scratch on the bumper. It is frustrating, though, to feel like such a target on the road. Maybe people react to the red like bulls, and just want to charge right through : )
  • voochvooch Posts: 92
    I had an 84 Celica about 8 years ago and was in a head on collision. I was going around 40 before I slammed on the brakes - I don't know how fast the other car was going but it was less than 40mph. I walked away from it and the car could be driven onto the tow truck. But there were 84 Celica and Nissan sentra guts all over, poor things. My back was sore for a while but thats about it. I turned around and bought another 84 Celica =) And now I want to buy an 84/85 Supra. I love those mid 80's models and they seem to hold their own in collisions.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Best years of the celicas and supras...we need supras back, along with RWD celicas.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Here is my info on HB's and honda civics in general.

    My professor was rear ended by a Nissan that was going aprox. 28-32 mph while she was stoped in traffic and her hb was totalled. The damage was more than what the car was worth even though it was only 4 yrs old so she got cash for it.

    My husband owned a honda crx hb and we were t-boned by a car going 64-68 mph and the car was completely totalled. You could not even tell that it was once a honda civic crx...let alone a car. So my husband got 8,000 for it from his insurance.

    My bro in law was rear ended in his crx by a man going 36 mph and the entire back end ended up in the front seat crushing my bro in law between the dash board, window and seat. He was injured pretty bad and his car was also totalled.

    I was rear ended in a honda civic dx and the cars back end was completly totalled. Cost over 7,000 to repair.

    Bottom does not make good solid cars. Yes they can pass the government crash test for 10-15 mph rear and side impacts but when you get up over 20 they fail misserably! They are cheaply put together. I mean you think it was made out of aluminum or something that easily bends and breaks. And you think they would make the back windows like the front to where they do not shatter but bend and give. The back windows in all the accidents were completely gone. The only window left was the front....pathetic.

    Thats why insurance companies charge you more to own a civic of any type. One they are stollen a lot and two they suck in crashes. They need you to pay more to cover your butt for injuries and replacing the car or repairing the damage.

    I myself just got rid of my honda civic dx. With no accidents on it it was already falling apart. It seems that nothing on that car was put together right and it was always in the shop for something. And with a baby on the way I needed a safer back seat. The back seat middle section is so small and narrow you have to put towels rolled up on the sides of the car seat so it doesnt rock side to side. Plus its rather hard to find a car seat that fits in that small space between the back seat and front seats.

    So to honda is worth my money again.
  • corolla_grl,

    Your assumption that Hondas are no good in crashes because they are totalled afterwards is flawed. The reason they are totalled afterwards is precisely because they ARE good at protecting their occupants.

    They save the occupants lives by crumpling at the front and rear (the engineers spend millions designing these 'crumple zones') which absorbs the energy of the impacting vehicle and converts it primarily to noise and heat. The idea is that the rest of the car can disintegrate (thus dissipating the crash energy) while the passenger cabin stays intact. The fact that your husband was T-boned at 68mph and is still alive is testimony to that fact.

    Ever seen a race-car disintegrate when it crashes? It's by design.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    All these Hondas she is mentioning are very small and light and most would appear to be of 80s vintage. The CRX?? That thing is puny and light. Of course it would crumple up like a tin can if anything larger hits it (which would be almost every car on the road). Small cars in the 80s and early 90s were not designed with safety as the utmost concern. The current Civic is one of the best in the class, passing all crash tests with flying colors. I think someone needs to look at cars in this decade before claiming they all are unsafe.
  • Sounds like those cars did pretty well. When you live through a crash, it is because the car saved you. Who cares about how much it cost your insurance company to fix it, that is what insurance is for.

    By the way, there is probably no car that would not be totalled after being t-boned at 64-68 mph, especially one as tiny as a CRX! I doubt that even 1% of drivers would survive such a crash into the drivers side, but of that 1%, I think that most people would be writing that story and finishing with, "Honda saved our lives, I'm sticking by them." You should be thankful that you and your husband are still alive, and in good health.
  • I just had an accident in my 2002 Civic SI and I walked away without a scratch (only one slight bruise from where the seatbelt tightened up). I was going approx. 45MPH or so when a Grand AM made a left hand turn in front of me .. I hit her pretty much head on.

    A few years ago I was rearended by a 95-96 Camry while I was in my 94 Integra hatchback. The guy was probably going abou 30 MPH when he hit me but again I was OK. The car sustained $5,000 worth of damage.

    A little before that while I had a 91 Integra a woman in a Buick Century wagon made a left hand turn in front of me and I clipped her passenger side rear end (she turned into a driveway with a gate closed and could not get completely in) while I was going about 40MPH ... again I wasn't hurt.

    So before you say that Hondas aren't well built you should do your research first. Research would show that current Hondas get some of the highest safety ratings out there and my own experience backs this up. A Camry only gets 2 stars in side safety ratings does that mean that all Toyota's are poorly built?

    And if Hondas were so bad why did you keep buying them? If you wanted another car because you had a strippo Civic then just say so. If you went out and got pregnant and the car wasn't big enough then just say that. But don't bring false propaganda in here when it's very easy to prove that it's false. If you are going to make stuff up at least make it something good.

    I saw a Suburban that had been t-boned by another Suburban and the car seat in the back didn't look too good. That baby might or might not have lived. So that goes to show you that no car is going to protect you from bad driving. At any moment an Excursion could come up and t-bone your Corolla and then you probably won't even be able to see that there was a car there let alone recognize what kind of car it was.
  • Americans generally do not like hatchbacks because they suggest cheapness. Many tiny cars in Europe are hatchbacks--they provide maximum space utilization. And personally, I prefer hatchbacks. My 86 Escort was a hatchback--I could fit huge furniture or half a dozen trash bags back there......but the fact is, hatchbacks are NOT quite as structurally rigid as their sedan/notchback counterparts. The structural difference is not particularly noticeable, but people may PERCEIVE that rigidity is inferior because--as I mentioned above--most hatchbacks are on small cars. And small cars are at a huge disadvantage in a crash...........In my opinion, the Geo Metro/Honda CRX/Civic/Insight hatchbacks are the most dangerous cars on the road. But astonishingly, I hear so many stories of people allegedly surviving huge high-speed crashes in them. It's all nonsense. If you get rear ended in a Metro, or T-boned in a CRX, at any speed over 30 mph, you're road pizza, plain and simple. The only crashworthy small hatchbacks are the Acura Integra/NSX, the VW Golf, and the VW Beetle.........I dread the coming crash horror stories with the new Mini. That thing should not be allowed on the road.
  • If you look at nhtsa results the Civic SI is rated 5 stars in frontal impact and 4 stars in side impact without side airbags. It actually does equal to or better than the Golf and Beetle. The Metro I might agree with you about.
This discussion has been closed.